Explore the Rockies

Explore the Rockies in the safety of a group with an experienced guide. Choose from our many hikes and be introduced to beautiful destinations. Then take an intro backpacking overnight trip and learn the skills to be prepared for longer backcountry adventures.

What sets us apart? 

Qualified and experienced guides. We hire experienced guides that have extensive knowledge of the area that you are travelling in. All guides carry remote communication devices and have wilderness first aid training.

Something for everyone. We offer a wide range of hike locations that vary in difficulty, in addition to interpretive hikes and multi-day hiking series that have a fitness component.

Shuttle or carpool. Choose from trips that offer either carpool or van shuttle transportation.

Day hikes 2019 location descriptions and ratings

All of our day hikes include and experienced guide and some have the option of van transportation. Choose from below based on skill level and location, then browse our hiking programs. 


Level 1

Up to 9km round-trip on flat or rolling terrain and good trails, with up to 200m of elevation gain at a relaxed pace with frequent breaks. For those with little or no hiking experience.

Bow Valley Loop A perfect early-spring destination, this small trail visits a variety of glacier-carved features and early flowers. 7km, 100m gain.

Grotto Canyon This unusual trip visits a narrow canyon with tall rock walls, a waterfall, and ancient native pictographs. 6km, 150 gain.

Warspite Lake This trail climbs steadily through mixed forest to reach a small subalpine lake surrounded by wildflower meadow. 5km, 100m gain.

Dyson Falls This short hike begins at a dramatic section of the Sheep River, and finishes at a meadowringed waterfall. 9km, 160m gain.

Elbow Lake This trail ascends one steady hill to the lake, then wanders through the surrounding meadows. 6km, 150m gain.

Level 2

A 7–10km round trip on rolling terrain and mostly good trails with up to 300m of elevation gain. We hike for 3-4 hours at a relaxed pace with breaks. For those with little hiking experience in fair physical condition.

Karst Spring Visit a clear lake, then hike up to a spring that emerges from rock and flows down in a mossy cascade. 10km, 200m gain.

Lower Kananaskis Falls A rolling trail along the picturesque north shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake offers many views on the way to a small cascade. 10km, 250m gain.

Buller Creek This attractive creek walk ascends steadily through the remains of a prescribed burn to finish at a punchbowl waterfall with sparkling clear water. 8km, 300m gain.

Foran Grade Ridge This rolling hike ascends to a ridgetop in every shade of green; beautiful in any weather conditions. 7.5km, 250m gain.

Jumpingpound Loop This spring hike rolls through bright green aspen forest, opening to grassy meadows with early wildflowers. 9km, 250m gain.

Boom Lake An easy walk through old-growth spruce forest to a deep lake surrounded by towering rock walls. 10km, 215m gain.

Tryst Lake Far off the beaten path, this short but steep trail leads to a small tarn ringed with golden larch trees. 6km, 300m gain.

Rawson Lake This trail switchbacks steadily to a subalpine cirque with a stunning deep green lake. 8km, 300m gain.

Ranger Ridge A sheltered loop starting from the Elbow River then gaining steadily to a great view with some off-trail travel. 8km, 300m gain.

Level 3

A 9–12km hike on varied terrain with up to 450m of elevation gain. May include some off-trail travel or creek crossings. We hike for 4–5 hours at a moderate pace. For those with some hiking experience in good physical condition.

Chester Lake A well-built trail with steady switchbacks leads through the forest to the subalpine Chester Lake in a stunning cirque below the tall peaks. 10km, 350m gain.

Rummel Lake Travel through open hillside and mixed forest to a deep blue-green lake surrounded by meadows, larch trees, and tall peaks. 10km, 350m gain.

Rae Glacier Visit one of the few remaining glaciers in Kananaskis Country by a steady trail to Elbow Lake then beyond and right to the foot of the glacier. 10km, 350m gain.

Yamnuska Lookout This mountain front ascent reaches a lookout with a view of both the peaks and the prairies. 7km, 425m gain.

Nihahi Ridge This trail winds up through gorgeous meadows to a birds-eye view of the Little Elbow Valley. 11km, 360m gain.

Yamnuska Valley Loop Tucked under the tall cliff of Mount Yamnuska, this low, rolling trail tours a variety of terrain with lots of spring flowers. 13km, 300m gain.

Grass Pass This route leads up a steady ascent to a broad pass in the Highwood area with many viewpoints. 5km, 425m gain.

Picklejar Lakes This trail leads up and over a small pass to a perfect subalpine valley with multiple lakes to visit. 12km, 475m gain.

Level 4

12–16km of long and/or steep hikes on varied terrain with up to 600m of elevation gain. May include off-trail travel, rocky terrain, bush, or creek crossings. We hike for 5–6 hours at a moderate pace. For those with hiking experience in strong physical condition.

Upper Kananaskis Lake Circuit This moderate hike circumnavigates the lake with a combination of flat and rolling terrain for a great diversity of views from each of the different shores. 16km, 300m gain.

Ribbon Falls Follow the burbling Ribbon Creek steadily upstream on a good trail through forest, plains, and pools to reach a tall waterfall that cascades down a large rock face. 16.5km, 375m gain.

Burstall Pass Hike through a variety of terrain including a glacial floodplain and subalpine meadows to reach a vast, rambling pass that’s equally spectacular with summer wildflowers or autumn larch. 15km, 450m gain.

Buller Pass This trail winds through a prescribed burn now regrown in various colours and above the trees entirely to a high mountain pass between two spectacularly scenic valleys. 15km, 600m gain

Level 5

These are long, strenuous hikes over 16km, with more than 600m of elevation gain. May include off-trail travel and rough ground, while hiking for 6–8 hours at a moderate pace. For those with lots of hiking experience in strong physical condition.

Galatea Lakes A new post-flood trail leads back and forth across the creek on a series of bridges before passing tranquil green Lillian Lake and continuing to the sparkling alpine Galatea Lakes. 17km, 650m gain.

Sparrowhawk Tarns A small trail winds up through and beyond the forest into an alpine wonderland of craggy rocks and tiny tarns with views back down the Spray Lakes valley. 12km, 700m gain.

Click the 'Browse programs' button to see Outdoor Centre offerings/dates on the shared Active Living registration tool.

Hiking

Hiking

Our guided hikes are perfect for beginners or those wanting to be introduced to new trails in beautiful destinations. Learn skills and meet other hikers.

Backpacking

Backpacking

Join us on a group backpacking trip. Hike beautiful Alberta trails and stay in a backcountry campground. Learn skills or get tips from experienced guides.

Learn to plan, prepare and cook tastier backcountry meals. Backcountry Cooking

Highlights for 2019

Edible Plants Interpretive Hike

Edible Plants Interpretive Hike

On this guided day hike, we'll take it slow and explore the forest floor, learning which plants we can eat and ways the plants have been used by both natives and early settlers. This is a great way to really learn about a specific natural area. 

 

Sup and hike

SUP and Hike

This is a unique multi-sport adventure in the mountains where we'll paddle and hike on the same day. We start by paddling our stand up paddleboards across Barrier Lake with our hiking gear stowed in dry bags. Then we hike up toward scenic Jewell Pass, stopping along the way at a beautiful waterfall.

Looking to rent outdoor gear or equipment? Rentals & Services

Contact

Hiking and Backpacking

Rachel Oggy
Program Coordinator, Instructor, Guide

hike@ucalgary.ca
T. 403.210.8446

Our program coordinators


Trail Reports

Kananaskis Country

Check recent trail reports and closures from Alberta Parks.

Kananaskis trail reports

Banff National Park

Check recent trail reports and closures from Parks Canada.

Banff trail report

Feeling lost? Take our map, compass and GPS courses. Leadership and Navigation

Conditions

Mountain Conditions

Check recent conditions in the mountains as reported by professional guides.

Mountain Conditions report

Weather

Check detailed forecasts for a variety of mountains at different elevations.

Mountain Weather Forecast